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Crab Cakes with Fennel and Chives

Crab cakes are always a favourite and these potato cakes are flavoured with fresh chives and fennel seeds, then crumbed & baked or air-fried.

The long cooking time for this recipe includes an hour for baking the potatoes. But you can do that in advance, cooking the fish cakes takes around 20 minutes in the oven and 15 minutes in an air fryer.

Baked crab cakes with fennel and chives served with homemade tartar sauce.

Tinned Crab Fishcakes

My site is no stranger to fish cakes, they are an enduring memory of my childhood and I now make them from all sorts of fish.

I’ve got smoked haddock fish cakes, spicy Thai influenced tuna fish cakes, tinned mackerel fish cakes and fresh salmon fish cakes.

These delicious oven-baked crab cakes are my latest offering and they share much in common with my previous offerings.

I use chunky tinned crab and mashed potato as the base. Then they are seasoned with loads of freshly snipped chives and fennel seeds, alongside salt and pepper.

Just like most of my fish cakes they are coated in breadcrumbs and cooked until golden.

In a departure from many of my offerings, these bad boys are baked or cooked in an air fryer and they are superb.

Close-up baked crab cakes with fennel and chives served with homemade tartar sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sort of crab do you use?

Tinned crab, but if you can get dressed crab from a fishmongers, fresh or frozen that would also work well.

The brand that I usually use is Kingfisher and I opt for the Jumbo crab because it has big old pieces of crab.

Can I use any type of potato?

No, you want to avoid a waxy potato because they do not mash very well. I would use a Maris Piper or King Edwards, or something like a Russet if you are in the US.

Can I use leftover mashed potato?

At a push yes, but the extra butter and cream or milk in mashed potato makes these crab cakes very soft and they do not hold together as well.

What’s the best way to cook the potatoes?

I prefer a dry method of cooking because it leads to a very dry potato mix, I usually cook make baked potatoes in an air fryer.

If you are in a hurry the next best option is to bake the potatoes in a microwave.

Why do you toast the breadcrumbs in butter?

Baking fish cakes often leads to a fairly insipid-looking crumb. In order to get around this I toast my breadcrumbs in butter first.

Can I fry fishcakes?

Yes, absolutely! Add a splash of oil and big old knob of butter and fry them for 4-5 minutes on each side over a medium-high heat.

Can I make them in advance?

Yes, but I do think that adding the breadcrumb coating is best done just before cooking.

As a result, I would follow the recipe to stage 5 and then refrigerate the patties (covered with cling film) for up to 2-3 days or freeze them for up to 3 months.

Overhead baked crab cakes with fennel and chives served with homemade tartar sauce.

Serving Suggestions

I’ve served these crab cakes with some homemade tartar sauce, some air fryer corn on the cob and some salad leaves in these pictures.

As they are loaded with potatoes I would avoid serving them with a spud-based side. But, there are plenty of other vegetables that work equally well.

Roasted tenderstem broccoli would be superb as would my air fryer garlic asparagus. You could even forgo the tartar sauce and serve them with some creamed leeks.

If you are looking for a salad with a bit more “substance” then give this samphire and asparagus salad a whirl, it is the perfect match.

Homemade baked crab cakes cut open to show texture served with tartar sauce.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Device for cooking the potatoes. I prefer to air fry mine, but you could bake them, microwave them or even boil them.
  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ frying pan.
  • Oven or air fryer to cook the crab cakes.
  • Baking sheet if you are baking the patties.
  • Potato masher or potato ricer.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Bowls and plates to breadcrumb the patties.
Oven baked grab cakes served with tartar sauce and buttered corn on the cob.
Yield: 2 Servings

Crab Cakes Recipe Oven Baked or Air Fried

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

These delicious homemade crab cakes are flavoured with chives and fennel before being oven baked until crisp and golden, I even have instructions for cooking them in an air fryer.


  • 400g (2 Medium-large) Floury Potatoes
  • 20g (½ Cup) Chives
  • 2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • ½-1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • ⅛ Tsp White Pepper
  • 2 x 150g Tins Crab Meat (210g Net Weight)
  • 15g (1 Tbsp) Butter
  • 50g (⅔-¾ Cup) Coarse Dried Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 Egg


  1. Cook your potatoes whole with the skin on, I prefer to bake mine in the air fryer, they will take an hour at 180°C or 350°F. You can microwave them or even boil them. Then scoop out the flesh and pass it through a potato ricer. This should yield around 250-275g of mashed potato.
  2. Trim and finely slice the spring onions then add them to the potatoes.
  3. Toast the fennel seeds in a small 20cm (8") frying pan then crush them in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and add them to the potatoes.
  4. Add the salt and white pepper to the potatoes, give everything a mix, have a taste, and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  5. Drain the crab meat, add it to the bowl and mix trying not to break up the crab too much. Form the mix into 4 patties. They will be around 125g each and aim for around 7½cm or 3" in diameter and around 2cm or ¾" thick.
  6. Heat the butter in a small 20cm (8") frying pan over a medium heat and when it begins to foam add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden.
  7. Dredge the parties in a little flour, then dip them into the lightly beaten egg and finally coat them in the breadcrumbs.
  8. Place the patties on a baking tray and cook in the oven at 200°C or 390°F for 15-20 minutes. You can also air fry them at 180°C or 350°F for 12-15 minutes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 500Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 1866mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 32g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

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